Archive for the 'Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs)' Category

December 2008 Site of the Month: Consumer Reports Greener Choices

Monday, December 1st, 2008 by

It’s holiday time again, which means you’re probably going to buy at least one gift for someone, as well as items for celebrations and holiday meals. You may wish to consult Consumer Reports Greener Choices web site, which provides information to help choose more environmentally friendly products. Articles and “green ratings” are available for the following product categories: Appliances, Cars, Electronics, Food & Beverages, and Home & Garden.  Within these sections, you’ll find links to articles, information on conservation of resources (such as energy, water, fuel, etc.), resources for shopping greener, and information on recycling and disposal. The “Hot Topics & Solutions” section of the site includes the Eco-labels Center (which helps you interpret what product labels really mean), the Electronics Recycling Center, the Global Warming Solutions Center, and sections on Energy, Water, and Waste.

The “Toolkit” section includes calculators to help save energy, water, and money, as well as a Toxics Search tool to find out whether there’s a potential for exposure while using a particular product, and how that can affect your health. The “Community” section of the site includes links to Consumers Union campaigns, forums and resources for further information, as well as blogs on cars, food safety, green homes, and safety.

IL Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act

Thursday, September 25th, 2008 by

On September 17, 2008, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced legislation requiring electronics manufacturers to collect and recycle or reuse electronics products. At no charge to consumers, the law authorizes the use of a combination of incentives and mandates to reduce the ever-increasing amount of electronic waste – televisions, printers, computer monitors, computers, laptops, printers, fax machines and MP3 players – and their toxic substances, such as lead, cadmium, copper, flame retardants, and phosphorus, from being disposed in Illinois landfills.  It also gives manufacturers flexibility in the strategies they use to meet their goals, such as partnering with retailers and local governments to sponsor collections.  Manufacturers, recyclers, refurbishers and collectors must also register annually with the Illinois EPA. Effective January 1, 2012, landfills would be prohibited from knowingly accepting any of the covered electronic devices for disposal. SB 2313 is effective immediately.

For further information on SB 2313, as well as a link to the resulting Public Act (095-0959; the Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act), see the Illinois General Assembly web site.

WI: Focus on Energy Offers Change-a-Light Incentive and CFL Fact Sheet

Friday, October 5th, 2007 by

While we’re on the subject of energy efficient light bulbs, note that Focus on Energy,Focus on Energy Logo Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, is currently offering instant cash-back rewards on select Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs. The promotion began on October 1, and while supplies last, Wisconsin residents can buy the CFLs for as little as $0.99. For more information on participating retailers, contact Focus on Energy at 800-762-7077 or see the campaign web page. The campaign site also includes a nice little calculator to estimate your yearly savings based upon the number of standard bulbs you replace with CFLs.

If you’re concerned about mercury content in CFLs, Focus on Energy also has a helpful publication entitled “The Facts About Mercury in CFLs” that could convince you the benefits of CFL use outweigh the risks. This fact sheet includes a chart that compares the mercury content of CFLs to that of other common household products, such as float switches in sump pumps and watch batteries. Proper disposal and cleanup of broken CFLs are also covered.

New York State DEC to host REACH workshop

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 by

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that it will host a workshop on the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH). REACH is a recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management system in the EU. REACH has important implications for United States firms exporting to EU member states and the rules became effective on June 1, 2007. The training session will take place on September 26, 2007 at DEC headquarters in Albany, NY.

An earlier post described a similar workshop that will be held in Lansing, MI on September 27.

For more upcoming events, check the GLRPPR online calendar and Sector Resources.

Draft Great Lakes Mercury in Products Phase-Down Strategy Open for Public Comments

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 by

The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration announces a sixty day public comment period for a Draft Great Lakes Mercury in Products Phase-Down Strategy. In fulfillment of a Collaboration Strategy recommendation, in April 2006, State, Tribal, and City staff commenced development of a basin-wide Strategy for the phase-down of mercury in products and waste.

A draft Strategy is now available for public comment at http://glrc.us/initiatives/toxics/drafthgphasedownstrategy.html, through October 27, 2007. We invite comments on the Strategy itself and on how best to move forward with implementation, as well as commitments from stakeholders to implement components of the Strategy.

A copy of the draft document was first distributed to government agency experts for technical review, then revised and distributed to a limited group of industry and environmental group stakeholders. A summary of comments that were received and incorporated can also be found at the above web link.

Please send comments electronically to Debra Jacobson at djacobso@wmrc.uiuc.edu. When sending comments by e-mail be sure to put the words “Great Lakes Mercury Strategy Comments” in the subject line.

If you have questions please contact Debra Jacobson at djacobso@wmrc.uiuc.edu or (630) 472 – 5019 (Phone).

Thanks to Deb Jacobson for submitting this information.

Lowell Center, MI DEQ Offer REACH Training

Friday, July 6th, 2007 by

The Chemicals Policy Initiative of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are offering a training on the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) legislation in September 2007. The training, entitled Turning REACH into an Opportunity: A Training on Implementing The European Union’s New REACH Legislation, will be held September 27 at the Lansing Community College West Campus in Lansing, MI. The following press release from the DEQ describes the training:

“REACH— Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals— is the recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management system in the European Union (EU). Entered into force June 1, 2007, REACH has important implications for US firms exporting to European Member States.

Attend this one-day training to learn from one of the few REACH authors and other experts about what you need to know to comply with REACH, stay competitive, and advance more sustainable chemicals management in your firm.

Why Should I Attend?
The new REACH system puts much more responsibility on companies to collect data on most chemicals on the market, assess the risk of these chemicals, and define safe use down the supply chain. It also requires companies to justify continued use of chemicals of very high concern. Any company exporting chemicals or chemical mixtures into the EU; competes in Europe, the US or elsewhere with products meeting European standards; or exports finished products to Europe has been effected by REACH.

This training session will help US companies prepare for REACH and turn it from a challenge into an opportunity. European companies have been preparing for the challenges and opportunities of REACH for several years— US companies must be prepared to remain competitive. Attendees will receive a database of tools and resources to help them make informed decisions about chemicals alternatives.

Complete conference agenda and registration information will be available on the Web by late July at www.chemicalspolicy.org. Registration fee is $100 and includes continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. Registration and Information Contact: Yve Torrie, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, 978-934-3121.”

Note that this event has been posted to the GLRPPR calendar, and an electronic version of the registration brochure will be linked to that event record when it becomes available. As part of Michigan DEQ’s Green Meetings Initiative, all marketing of this training will be done electronically. For more information on DEQ trainings, see the Trainings and Workshops section of the DEQ web site.

Thanks to Jennifer Acevedo of Michigan DEQ for providing this information.

NWF Documents on EPP, Mercury Thermostat Recycling, & Mercury Switches in Vehicles

Friday, March 16th, 2007 by

Thanks to Michael Murray, Ph.D., National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Staff Scientist for the Great Lakes Natural Resource Center, for providing three new NWF documents for access on the GLRPPR web site:

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing in the Great Lakes Region: A Survey of State, Municipal and Institutional Programs assesses EPP programs in the eight Great Lakes states, eight municipalities and three universities, with an emphasis on policies addressing PBT chemicals. Researched and written by Cameron S. Lory and Amy E. Scott-Runnels of INFORM, Inc., and Michael W. Murray, Ph.D. of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

Recycling Mercury Thermostats in Ohio outlines the problem of mercury in the environment, and provides information on mercury in thermostats and alternatives and recycling mercury containing thermostats in Ohio. It also includes a comparison of collection of mercury containing thermostats via the Thermostat Recycling Corporation voluntary program for both the U.S. as a whole and Ohio.

Putting the Brakes on Quicksilver: Removing Mercury From Vehicles in Ohio addresses the removal of mercury switches from automobiles in Ohio. This report was written by Michael W. Murray, Ph.D. with research assistance by Knoll Larkin and Liz Szaluta of the University of Michigan.